Disabled Adventures and Expeditions

November 20, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
For the millions of Americans with a long term disability getting out and into the recreational world can be a real challenge. But one valley business is helping to change that with a customized vehicle like those built for celebrities such as "Mr. Margaritaville", Jimmy Buffett.You'll find 'Sportsmobile West' in an industrial complex a few miles south of Fresno. Thousands of 'happy campers' own its custom made recreational vans. In June of last year singer songwriter and lead parrot head Jimmy Buffett ordered the first of two custom vans says owner Alan Feld, "He really does go surfing, he lives his lifestyle, and he not only sings about it he actually does all that and he needs to get out on the beach and he stays in it too." Buffett has documented those recreational travels in his so called "Green Tomato" on his website in journals filled with photos.

RELATED LINKS:
Disabled Employers
Sportsmobile
Margaretville: Jimmy Buffett Journals

A similar kind of journal can be found on the Disabled Explorers' website by trauma nurse and single amputee Lance Blair. The founder of this non-profit based in Arizona describes it this way, "We call it therapeutic recreation. It's not just getting out for fun." Blair' dedication isn't about just being along for the ride. Those he takes trekking cook, wash up and drive, "To give them that opportunity to adapt, to overcome and then get out there and explore in the outdoors."

The two men met at an 'Off Road' trade show and the result is the first wheelchair accessible 'Sportsmobile' for disabled expeditions. It's a great fit says Alan Feld, "And being able to design the vehicle in a proper way to allow people to get out its just exciting to us. It's just a great project."

With price tags of 40 thousand plus and up a custom Sportsmobile presented another challenge but with Feld and other sponsors Blair's non-profit managed to make it happen, "For us, Disabled Explorers, working with Sportsmobile, this is the launching pad."

That launch pad that will find the organization reaching out to disabled but outdoor inclined folks here in the Central Valley.


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